Deuter is a founding father of New Age music. His first album release was in 1971 and he’s produced more than 60 albums since then. Reiki: Hands of Love is the follow-up album to Reiki: Hands of Light. These albums are similar in sound and format, and are designed to be soothing, tranquil accompaniments for healing sessions.

This album has nine tracks. Some are melodic pieces with alternating chord progressions, while others are more ambient, free-flowing musical expressions. The introductory tracks, 1. Morning Light Silhouettes and 2. Morning Light Silhouettes feature a bare piano melody with synth-string choral accompaniment. A flute joins with a plaintive melody. 3. Cloud Surfing shifts into the ambient music genre with an otherworldly melody and accompaniment that remains gentle and tranquil. 4. Love’s Winged Messenger, a seven-minute track, introduces guitar and wood flute to the musical palette. Track 5. Hands of Love is nine minutes long. The melody evolves as it is passed from piano to the flute, cello, violin, and back again. The song is very slow and its development is exquisitely controlled, a perfect musical metaphor for Reiki healings.

Track 6. Unknown Doors has the feeling of an ambient harpsichord with wordless vocal backgrounds. 7. Deeper than the Sky continues with the pseudo harpsichord and vocal background, with flutes in a stately sarabande-like song. 8. Still Stones of Silence (8:06) is a semi-ambient piano-flute and wordless vocal song. The final track, 9. Free Forever, features electronic piano with multiple background sounds for texture. The melody is uplifting and inspirational.

New Age music deliberately conveys deceptively bland melodies and very little harmonic movement to achieve the effect of placid and relaxing background music for meditation, yoga, and healing therapies. The real skill of producing good New Age music is in the layers of background textures, sustained pedal notes, injecting a wide range of instrumental color, and shimmering clouds of bells or plucked notes in the high range. Deuter is a master at assembling these textural layers while slowly unfolding his melodic and minimalistic harmonic material. He plays an amazing range of instruments to extend the range of multicultural sounds that are included in his music.

Recommended for Reiki practitioners and for people seeking music for deep relaxation and meditation purposes.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Deuter
Deuter/New Earth Records
Shiva Shakti Music Publishing 2015
CD $16.95; digital downloads $8.91 at Amazon, iTunes